A Real, Honest-to-God, Bipartisan Issue! 5/2/16


It seems that prison reform, especially reduction of incarcerations, is widely agreed to be a worthy goal.

In passing, we read here that prison costs Americans $80B annually, that 1/5th of the world’s prison population is in the USA, and 70M Americans have criminal records.

20 Responses

  1. Not any more. Not since the left only is willing to declare it a success if violent felons are mass released.

    “Criminal justice experts and reformers are beginning to draw this distinction in order to push for what they see as the next phase of reform: reducing extremely long prison sentences for violent offenses. Some advocates, under the banner of #Cut50, are now calling for a 50-percent reduction in the incarcerated population. But to do that, some violent offenders will need to be freed, and sentences will need to be low enough to ensure future convicts can’t refill prisons, as this interactive from the Marshall Project shows:”


    I suspect their view of what constitutes an “expert” differs from mine.


  2. Prison reform, alas, isn’t a good campaign issue, ultimately. It’s not something most people vote on.

    Additionally, rehabilitation is almost non-existent. For a lot of reasons, not the least of which is rehabilitation for violent offenders requires a lot of work that to conservative critics sounds like new age bullsh*t and to liberal critics sounds like torture. There was a study I heard about where pedophiles could get their sentences if they completed a rehabilitation program that basically involved guided empathy, where they put themselves in the role of their victim. It didn’t take long before a number of participants bailed, not willing to go through the empathy exercise in order to get a commuted sentence. Anything that rehabilitates violent offenders is likely to take a while and be very unpleasant.

    Another problem is reinforcement. Prison is a place that reinforces violent behavior and even rewards it, where power belongs to the violent, and so on. You’re not going to break the cycle of violence by putting violent people in a violent place where you eat, sleep and breathe violence. But changing that would be a sea change, and it’s not something politicians can win elected office on. The best we might hope for would be violent prison facilities where you have shorter sentences, and the entire sentences were served in solitary. Perhaps with access to socialization through online courses, to get GEDs or technical training. Again, seems unlikely to happen.


  3. Fox Butterfield, where are you?

    America spends $80 billion a year locking up 2.2m people, reflecting an incarceration rate that has climbed remorselessly to more than four times the world average, even as violent crime rates fell sharply.

    Also worth noting is this particular formulation:

    If past trends continue, one in three black men born in 2001 can expect to serve time at some point.

    As if it is just some random event that happens based on odds, like the lottery.


    • I think the suggestion is not that it “just happens”, but that a white-privileged justice system exists for the purpose of putting black people in prison, because racism.


  4. This too:

    Once out, ex-cons join about 70m Americans with criminal records, a status which in several states will deny them public housing and the right to vote, and legally bar them from occupations which require a licence, such as hair-cutting or plumbing.

    Which is a better solution…stop putting criminals in jail, or stop requiring licenses to cut hair?


  5. Perhaps the best way of reducing the prison population would be to legalize drugs.


    • Decriminalizing it, anyway. But, yeah, some drugs should clearly be legalized.


    • The argument from the left is that it’s insufficient. That if you want to “solve” mass incarceration then violent felons need to be released as well. “Solved” in this case meaning reducing the US’s rate of incarceration to match that of Europe.

      This to me indicates that “mass incarceration” isn’t the problem then. If locking up all violent felons still results in “mass incarceration” even after reforming the system for non violent drug dealers, then so be it.


      • jnc:

        If locking up all violent felons still results in “mass incarceration” even after reforming the system for non violent drug dealers, then so be it.

        I am with you. Avoiding “mass incarceration” just for the sake of avoiding it doesn’t seem sensible to me.


      • I don’t understand how, in a world governed and smothered in White Privelage, following a WHITE European model of incarceration makes any sense.

        Explain how it does?


  6. One person who should definitely go to jail is the lawyer who filed this case:


    A Chicago woman is suing Starbucks for more than $5 million for allegedly underfilling its iced coffee, tea and blended drinks.

    Plaintiff Stacy Pincus argues in the lawsuit, filed last week in federal court in Chicago, that the amount of ice Starbucks uses in its drinks means customers get less of the actual beverage.


    • While true, and I’ve observed it myself (I was once refused service for asking for a soda with no ice at a food court chicken place) … I never thought of filing a $5 million lawsuit. Wow.


  7. ESPN follows the progressive playbook and attempts to purge history of those who hold objectionable opinions.


    ESPN edited out footage from Curt Schilling’s legendary “bloody sock” game Sunday night when replaying a 2010 documentary about the Boston Red Sox’s 2004 World Series (sic – ALCS) comeback win.

    The move to cut Schilling out of the documentary, entitled “Four Days in October,” happened less than two weeks after the network fired Schilling for objecting to laws that would allow men who identify as transgender to use a women’s restroom.

    ESPN’s explanation?

    ESPN has since claimed that a live event scheduled to run just before the documentary ran over time, and the network needed to cut a segment from the film so it would end on time.

    Riiiiiight. It had time constraints so it cut the single most iconic moment of the entire series, which just happened to center around a guy they had just fired for having improper opinions. How convenient.


    • When do you think the tipping point was when lying about everything, all the time, became the expected response?


    • when did sports become political?


      • Brent:

        when did sports become political?

        When it developed an audience with a sufficient critical mass worth being targetted. For the left, everything is political, and every audience represents an opportunity to propagandize (which is why so many leftist entertainers find it impossible not to use their work as a means of advancing a political agenda.) I think the very success of ESPN in the sports industry made it an inevitable means by which the leftist project will be pushed.

        You will be made to care, even if all you care about is sports.


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